« On The Ninth Day Of Christmas | Main | EU Foreign Policy »

Kerry Should Have Hired Me

So Mary Beth "I did everything right" Cahill now admits she screwed up.

Cahill Admits Underestimating Ads' Impact

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites)'s failed presidential bid said Wednesday she regrets underestimating the impact of an attack advertisement that questioned Kerry's Vietnam War record.

Mary Beth Cahill, who spoke at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government with Ken Mehlman, President Bush (news - web sites)'s campaign manager, said the Massachusetts senator's campaign initially thought there would be "no reach" to the ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Instead, the ad, which initially aired in just three states, became a central issue of the campaign, eventually forcing Kerry to personally deny the group's allegations that he did not deserve his combat medals.

"This is the best $40,000 investment made by any political group, but it was only because of the news coverage that it got where it did," she said.

"In hindsight, maybe we should have put Senator Kerry out earlier, perhaps we could have cut it off earlier."

Mehlman said that it was natural that the ad had the reach and impact it did, because Kerry decided to make his Vietnam record a central part of his campaign.

"Because Senator Kerry was so focused on that part of his biography, it came out as an issue," he said.

Unlike Cahill, I knew this was bad news the second I heard it. I'll quote my own thoughtful and insightful comments here:


That is about as eloquent as I could put that.

This could change the whole campaign.

(Ya can't get that kind of analysis on PBS now can you!)

I was told to "Dream On" and mocked even by people I thought were my friends.;-)

I basically nail everything that happened. Start here and scroll down. (a few of you own me apologies BTW ;-) Maybe next time Kerry will hire me to run his campaign.

But if you want another chuckle, I have it below the fold...

But first, an UPDATE Doc Poliblog says some of the things I was thinking too. (/ update)

Back to the original Cahill story:

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of Republican-funded Vietnam War veterans who patrolled the same Mekong Delta in Swift boats similar to the ones piloted by Navy Lt. John Kerry, challenged Kerry's accounts of his medal-winning service and anti-war protests. ...

She said it was frustrating that the first ad continued to eat up so much air time even after the central allegations were debunked.

The media just never gives up huh- Even after the election is over they still keep plugging. The boats were "similar to the ones" Kerry was on... Geeze so much for accuracy!

On a more serious note, Cahill still gets it wrong. What this proves is that the MESSAGE of the Swift Vets was a powerful one. The fact the media BEGRUDGINGLY reported on it only shows how powerful the message was. But if she understood it, her guy would have won.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Kerry Should Have Hired Me:

» ~Neophyte Pundit~ linked with Thursday Afternoon

» ISOU linked with Some Catching up

» The Counterpoint linked with Cahill admits underestimating the Swift Vets

» Commonwealth Conservative linked with Cahill admits mistakes

» Secure Liberty linked with Cahill Gets It, Or Not?

Comments (25)

Even putting him out sooner... (Below threshold)

Even putting him out sooner wouldnt have changed the American view of him as a traitor or something close to it. I disagree fully.

You are correct- see my las... (Below threshold)

You are correct- see my last line.

What would their defeat hav... (Below threshold)

What would their defeat have looked like if the MSM actually HAD reported the truths in their story?

The Kerry campaign was NOT ... (Below threshold)

The Kerry campaign was NOT slow to respond, once the swifties got the money to run an ad and the MSM couldn't just continue to silence them by ignoring them (i.e., the original press conference). They responded by threatening lawsuits, intimidating the publisher of the book, using the Clinton personal attack strategy, etc. The response, which WAS widely covered immediately, was as damaging to Kerry as the allegations, and helped make the "controversy" the major issue it became.

oops, last Paragraph. ... (Below threshold)

oops, last Paragraph.

"Bringing Kerry out" to talk bout Vietnam was never going to be a winner. Bringing him out to play defense was a SURE loser.

The key was, to never run solely on Vietnam in the first place. (see my comments on OTB, I said that at the time) PLUS- That foolishly ill-conceived convention just sealed their fate. Not even a debate upset could help Kerry.

Kerry should NOT have attacked the Swifites as Cahill now says, he should have soft-peddled Vietnam ESPECIALLY after they came out...

But I'm glad the Dems still don't even know why they lost... That means they can't win in the future either.

If anything, putting him ou... (Below threshold)

If anything, putting him out there sooner would have sped up the spin cycle of ads, adding further legitimacy to the claims.

The Swifties would have had to be reckoned with sooner because people would be wondering why is Kerry so quick to attack/deny/defend his Vietnam record against a 'fringe' group, unless there was something to it.

Cahill thinks that a quicker reaction would have saved the campaign. A better candidate would have saved the campaign. Oh, and someone other than 0-8 Bob Shrum giving advice. I would have made sure to keep my candidate as far away from the guy as humanely possible.

Oh, and since I bring up Shrum, can someone explain how someone who is so incapable of winning a major Presidential race the eight times he's tried still around to give advice to yet more Presidential candidates? Don't these candidates know that this guy is worse for your political health than a boatload of harassed subordinates giving hummers to the candidate under the desk, taped, recorded, and broadcast and interviewed on 20/20 by Barbara Walters?

And Paul, I think you're ri... (Below threshold)

And Paul, I think you're right - Kerry's focus on his Vietnam record was the wrong move for the candidate to take. His advisors were incredibly stupid to pick events from 30 years ago to make as Kerry's central theme, when he had a record (such as it was) in the Senate that was more recent.

Kerry should have known better. Cahill should have known better. That they still think it was about timing the response shows they still don't have a clue.

Maybe it's time to get into political consulting as a new career since the current batch of DNC consultants doesn't have a clue.

The only thing that could h... (Below threshold)

The only thing that could have saved Kerry's campaign is if he had apologized years ago for his behavior after returning from the war.

"She said it was frustratin... (Below threshold)
Opinionated Vogon:

"She said it was frustrating that the first ad continued to eat up so much air time even after the central allegations were debunked."

Apparantly disrespecting O'Neill, shouting LIAR LIAR at him and sticking your fingers in your ears and droning la la la la I'm not listening to you... is what qualifies as "debunking" to some people.

Beldar (http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/) offered a challenge on his blog with a cash prize if I recall correctly, and nobody was able to disprove any of the claims made by the swiftvets and POWs.

John Kerry on the other hand was forced to acknowledge errors in his version of events from his tour of duty, which although being "seared" into his mind, were PROVEN to be inaccurate.

Still, they keep repeating the debunk lie.

Julie, I think you got it. ... (Below threshold)

Julie, I think you got it. Treachery is part of politics, but most voters still don't like to see it. If you're contrite, most will forgive. But if you can't even bother to mumble "sorry", if you are so blind that you can't see the effect of something like this on the average American citizen and voter, well, you're just not perceptive enough to be president.

The post linked to above wa... (Below threshold)

The post linked to above was from May. The Swiftboat Vets really didn't start their campaign in earnest until August which was after the Democratic Convention. If the media had reported on them back in May, Kerry might have had time to alter his strategy and not make Vietnam the center of his campaign. The media actually helped bury him by holding off on reporting the story until he had damaged himself beyond repair.

The killer impact was O'Nei... (Below threshold)

The killer impact was O'Neill's book, "Unfit for Command" and the effect the blogosphere had in publicizing it.
Once that came out, and it hit number one on the best seller lists, the MSM couldn't ignore it.
Add to that the calm demeanor the O'Neill presented whenever he was interviewed, gave the impression that there was something to the claims of the Swifties.

The post linked to abov... (Below threshold)

The post linked to above was from May. The Swiftboat Vets really didn't start their campaign in earnest until August which was after the Democratic Convention. If the media had reported on them back in May, Kerry might have had time to alter his strategy and not make Vietnam the center of his campaign. The media actually helped bury him by holding off on reporting the story until he had damaged himself beyond repair.


Her statement is lame. Kerr... (Below threshold)

Her statement is lame. Kerry lost the issue because he handled it so poorly. He kept bringing it up over and over, embellishing his record and playing the hero. He put vets on the stage with him and he gave the hokey, pathetic salute and declared "reporting for duty." Then there was the Stephen Spielberg movie.

The Swift vets were more effective than they ever could have hoped because of Kerry's narcissism.

The man was like a car crash - you couldn't look away - and he self-destructed on Cahill's watch.

Kerry and his campaign shou... (Below threshold)

Kerry and his campaign should have anticipated being attacked on his war record since he had been attacked in earlier campaigns. It could be that they thought the Bush campaign could not do it because of all the bad press his National Guard service received. Thank God for the Swift Boat Veterans.

Neither the campaign nor the press ever addressed the main thrust of the Swifties attack, Kerry's anti-war protest. They seemed oblivious to the anger and disgust provoked by the anti-war protest and America's subsequent abandonment of the Vietnamese. Since the Left sees that as a great victory, they could not comprehend that others would still disagree all these years later.

Since <a href="http://www.o... (Below threshold)

Since I said I wasn't enamored of the "huge impact" theory, do I owe you an apology, Paul?

Okay then, I apologize. I'm sorry you're from Louisiana.

Hugs and kisses,

Texas Native

Typical Texan... The larger... (Below threshold)

Typical Texan... The larger the mouth, the smaller the brain.

Love you too


Kerry could have used the i... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

Kerry could have used the issue to his advantage by saying,

"Some people have called me a flip-flopper or wishy-washy. I stand by my record as a Silver Star winner and hero in Vietnam, just the same way as I stand by my attempts to end the conflict afterward. I cannot say that in hindsight I would do things the same way, but I believed in the cause of ending the war and did all that I could to bring it about. But this campaign is not about one single issue or about what happened 30 years ago. This is about today. The Swift Boat Veterans have not met me or talked with me in 30 plus years. My actions after the war may have offended some, but should be held against me no more than a 30 year old DUI is held against our President."

Still doesn't make him less... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

Still doesn't make him less of a dirtbag, but the problem is that he spend the entire convention "Reporting for Duty". He campaigned on what he did 30 years ago and started the debate. You can't open the book to the chapter that includes the Silver Star and not have people read the surrounding chapters about Ghengis Khan.

The Democrats finally had their "War Hero" but did not properly think things through. Kerry's entire life only has three bright spots that distinguish him from the rest of us schmucks:

1. Marrying a millionairess
2. Four Months of Vietnam
3. Marrying an even richer millionairess

Outside of these three things, the guy has a very undistinguished senate record (of not voting and not introducing legislation) and no experience outside of being either a prosecutor or a politician. He certainly couldn't make his campaign about marrying wealthy women as this does not qualify one to be the President of the US.

But . . . Justin, he speak... (Below threshold)

But . . . Justin, he speaks french -- fluently. Mais qui!

Justin B,You forge... (Below threshold)

Justin B,

You forget to take into account that one of the four months in Vietnam was spent in training. Only three were actually spent in combat missions.

In hindsight, Kerry, as Iawhawk points out, got "Shrummed". See Ann Coulter's latest column on comparisons between Shrum and Geragos, it's pretty damned funny.

And Paul, stop generalizing about us Texans, or I'm gonna call the ACLU. Or the NAACP. Wait, I don't think they'd take my case. I'll call somebody, dammit!

The NAACP *would* take your... (Below threshold)

The NAACP *would* take your case.

You're talking about the National Association for the Advancement of Colorless People, right?

The good thing about the NA... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

The good thing about the NAACP is even if they lost your case, they never quit. They would relentlessly shame whoever insulted you with protests until their bribe demands were met. I wish we all were in the "Rent-A-Protest" business.

Earlier comments here well ... (Below threshold)

Earlier comments here well identify the issue -- can't add to what's already here, is what I mean, couldn't have expressed it better -- but more evidence that the Democrats are still completely off base, out of touch, sorta glossed over in some inability to reason, was what I heard yesterday on FOX by Geraldine Ferraro (on Neil Cavuto's show):

She actually said: "(regarding John Kerry and why he 'lost')...he's not really good at the huggy-kissy stuff, which is what campaigns are all about."

She reduces the man and all that confusion and all those issues down to the fact that, as a Democrat, he's among her "best friends" and that campaigning (for the Presidency) is all about "huggy-kissy stuff." And because Kerry's not, in her view, "really good" at that, he lost. That people woulda' only voted for him if he'd hugged and kissed more.

I could barely believe my eyes and ears. Geraldine Ferraro exemplifies, as does Kerry, why liberals don't get it, never got it, and don't appear to hold much promise of getting it anytime soon. They rely on truly perverse misrepresentations of high ideals and issues that voters are keen to respond to and about by minimizing them, refusing to acknowledge them, "pretending" that the "huggy-kissy stuff" instead will make for significance.

More of why the Swiftvets, who got their points across and Kerry's inability to come clean before the American public -- which is why the Swiftvets are believable and Kerry isn't -- are guys getting the job done, and why the DNC, what with Ferraro, Kerry, Cahill and all, are still wearing masks, avoiding realities, telling too many tiny lies that all add up to lack of credibilty and reliability to a lot of voters.

I value the Swiftvets as American heroes, and always will. Great guys, due our gratitude. They have mine.

Man, that explains why Clin... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

Man, that explains why Clinton was the only successful Democrat in the last 30 years. He was hella-good at huggy kissy stuff. I assume that by huggy kissy stuff she means trying to get 20 something year old women in bed, not kissing babies at political rallies.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy